How to restrict posts in an org-wide Team

In this post we will look at the permission settings within a general channel in Teams, how this relates to an org-wide team, plus channel moderation!

Contents

Introduction

Before diving into this post, it’s worth calling out that channel permissions and moderation are not limited to just org-wide teams, they are available to any team you create. My brief was to limit the ability to post in an org-wide team to just owners, so I figured I would write this in the context of org-wide teams as it would be a common use case for many organisations!

What’s an org-wide team?

For those new to Teams, an org-wide team is something you can create that will automatically all users in your organisation. Microsoft defines it as:

Org-wide teams provide an automatic way for everyone in a small to medium-sized organization to be a part of a single team for collaboration.

Create an org-wide team in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams Documentation

You can have up to five org-wide teams as part of your tenancy, but will need to be a global admin to create them. As part of a recent roll out of Teams, we created a private team which was later converted to an org-wide team. Here’s a post I wrote about creating new teams where I added some thoughts on org-wide teams.

The General channel, permissions & moderation

If you already have an org-wide team created, the next step may be to restrict or moderate who and what can be posted within the channels in the org-wide team. Sounds simple enough right?

#1 you can’t moderate the general channel

So if your first thought is to have an open-ish org-wide team where anyone can add posts or replies in a moderated fashion, think again! Unless you have already created bespoke teams templates to avoid this issue, your org-wide team will be using the default general channel which cannot use channel moderation.

So that leaves two options, either create a new channel that can be moderated, leaving the general tab unused or manage the permissions of the general channel.

You currently cannot moderate the general channel in Teams.

#2 you can’t delete or hide the general channel

If you do decide that a new, moderated channel is the best way to go you will be left with a potentially unwanted general channel. This can be problematic for a few reasons, namely:

  • You can’t delete the general channel
  • You can’t rename the general channel
  • You can’t hide the general channel or change the order of the channels to move it down

There is a UserVoice request to remove or rename the general channel here that Microsoft will respond to if a request gains enough traction.

How to add a new channel and set up moderation

If you do decide to go ahead and create a new channel for your team to apply moderation, here’s how to do it.

Add a new channel

  • Press the ellipsis … next to the channel name > Add new channel
  • Give the channel a name and description
  • Set the privacy of the channel
    • Standard – accessible to everyone in the team
    • Private – accessible to a specific group of people in the team
  • Tick to automatically show the channel in everyone’s lists (optional)
  • Press Add

Turn on channel moderation

  • Select your newly created channel, press the ellipsis … next to the channel name > manage channel
  • In channel settings, under permissions > set channel moderation to on
  • The default channel moderators are the team owners, press manage to change this and select the individual(s) required
  • Turn the following check-boxes on or off as desired (on by default):
    • Allow members to reply to channels
    • Allow bots to submit channel messages
    • Allow connectors to submit channel messages
Create a new channel and turn on post moderation in Teams.

What does an end-user see?

So with all the out-of-the-box options switched on as above, only moderators can start new posts, but members can reply to channel messages.

When a user navigates to the moderated channel, they see the following message:

Channels with moderation turned on will display a message to end-users in the channel.

However, when a moderator adds a post, this is what an end-user sees:

With channel moderation turned on, end-users cannot add new posts, but are able to reply.

How to restrict permissions in the general channel

Microsoft recommend you only allow team owners to post in the general channel, and switch off @team and @[team name] mentions in an org-wide team. Here’s how to do it:

Restrict permissions to post in the general channel

  • Press the ellipsis … next to the general channel name > manage channel
  • Under channel settings, permissions you have the following options:
    • Anyone can post
    • Anyone can post; show alert that posting will notify everyone (recommended for large teams)
    • Only owners can post messages
  • Select only owners can post messages

Switch off @team and @[team name] mentions

  • Press the ellipsis … next to the team name > manage team
  • Press the settings tab > expand @mentions
  • There are two options checked:
    • Show members the option to @team or @[team name] (this will send a notification to everyone on the team)
    • Give members the option to @channel or @[channel name]. This will notify everyone who’s shown the mentioned channel in their channel lists.
  • Untick both options
How to restrict who can post to team owners in the general channel and turn of @mentions.

What does an end-user see?

So much like with channel moderation, users are notified when post restrictions are in place in the general channel:

End users can see when posts are restricted in the general channel.

Although unable to post replies with this restriction in place, users are still able to add reaction emoji’s to posts, which are visible too all in the org-wide team.

Even with post restrictions in place, end-users can still use emoji’s to react to posts that will be visible to org-wide team members.

You can edit the policies and settings within the Teams admin center to manage GIFs, stickers and memes, but you cannot turn off reaction emojis. There is a UserVoice request here to add the functionality.

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